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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"


All this is clearly illustrated by the case of Merton College
(after Balliol, the oldest of the Oxford colleges), which was
founded by Walter of Merton, the ex-Chancellor of England,
in 1264.   Walter assigned two manors " for the perpetual main-
tenance of twenty scholars living in the schools at Oxford or
elsewhere where a university may happen to flourish and for the
maintenance of two or three ministers of Christ" who were to live
on one of the manors.   Ten years later he " moved his whole
establishment to Oxford, enlarged the endowment, annexed St.
John's Church to it, and made it in fact a collegiate church with the
fellows as canons, and directed that the number should be
increased as the revenues grew."   At the same time he added to
his previous instructions for its government a code of statutes
which was followed in the main by all later college foundations.
" In this house, called the House of the Scholars of Merton, there
shall be for ever scholars devoted to learning and bound to devote
their time to the study of arts, philosophy, canon law, or theology.
And the greater part of them shall devote themselves to the study
of the liberal arts and philosophy until at the will of the warden
and fellows they transfer themselves to the study of theology. But
four or five of them shall be allowed by the provision of their
superior to study canon law ; and to hear lectures in civil law if
it shall appear expedient."   " Some of the more discreet of the
aforesaid scholars," it is decreed in another section, " shall be
elected to take charge, under the warden and as his assistants, of
the less advanced as to their progress in learning and conduct, so
that over every twenty, or ten, if necessary, there shall be a

The practice of college instruction, once introduced, made
rapid headway in Oxford, and by the end of the Fifteenth Century
the lectures given in the ten secular and seven monastic colleges
which had come into existence by that time, had practically
superseded the lectures in the official schools. The students
were no longer required to attend the ordinary lectures, and the
obligation of the masters to act as regents had been reduced to a
minimum. The completeness of the change is revealed in the
request made by the regents in 1518, that " they should not be
compelled to deliver their ordinary lectures for the greater part
of an hour, seeing that nobody attends their lectures." In Paris,
 A. F. I^ach} Educational Charters, pp. xxvii-xxviii, 183.